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APA Horikawadori Kyoto
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1 Aburanokoji-cho, Shiokoji-nishi, Aburanokoji-dori, Shimogyo-ku,, Kyoto, Japan
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Tiny Rooms for Tiny Budgets & Tiny People.
Okinawa City, Japan
March 22, 2010
Best of IgoUgo
DISCLAIMER: I may be a bit biased. As a Korean-American, I stand about 5'3 on a good day and weigh about 110 lbs soaking wet. I'm fond of all things "Nae-Nae-sized" (small things just right for a small person), and my parents of Dutch upbringings ...
DISCLAIMER: I may be a bit biased. As a Korean-American, I stand about 5'3 on a good day and weigh about 110 lbs soaking wet. I'm fond of all things "Nae-Nae-sized" (small things just right for a small person), and my parents of Dutch upbringings made me fond of all things cheap. Keep that in mind when reading this review...
Tucked neatly around the corner from the massive, buzzing Kyoto Station sits the APA Horikawadori Kyoto Hotel. The price for it's location can't be beat. The facility looks modern but humble, and the inside lobby is surprisingly chic, with minimalist lines and deep red benches with clean lines.
We checked in on a cold and blustery afternoon. The line at the check-in desk was a bit longer than I had liked, but it moved quickly. We were soon warmly welcomed by a clerk that spoke wonderful English. Upon showing our reservation vouchers and passports, we were given 2 room key cards and a nod towards the elevators.
I had reserved a non-smoking double room. The hotel has "smoking floors" and "non-smoking floors", and my new travel buddy was not bothered for the duration of our stay by any errant smoke odors that may have crept through the vents. The elevators quickly whisked us up to the 6th floor and opened up to a simple, quiet, and clean hallway. Our room was at the end of the hallway, facing a bit of a strange angle; but did not distract from any real purpose.
Unlike most hotel doors that use keycards, this lock did not require that you insert the card into the lock and wait for the light to turn green - it merely requires that you pass the card in front of the sensor for entry. (How technicalogically advanced!) This was actually pretty convenient when you have backpacks and luggage weighing you down after a commute.
I opened the door to our room and it was astonishingly tiny. Not really for me, but for Will, my American-sized beloved companion. The poor fellow is just not built for Japan. The double bed allowed us to travel around half its perimeter - stopping at either the bathroom or the desk, which touted a nice LCD television. There is ample room at the entryway for shoes and luggage. (There's not much of a choice but to keep them anywhere else but here). After designating a limited space for his "giant" suitcase, he sat on the bed with a resounding *thud*. I was a bit bummed to hear this and tried it out for myself. The beds are abnormally firm for a hotel, but I was glad that the hotel had erred on the too-firm side, rather than the not-firm-enough side. My back needs a lot of support when I sleep.
The bathroom also tiny. However, the toilets are the high-tech toilet/bidet combo with the electronic seat warmer! Within arm's reach of the toilet, (literally), a small washtub/shower occupies the other other half of the room. I was glad to see that the shower head was at least high enough where poor Will would not have to become a hunchback to shower properly. I was also surprised to see the complimentary toiletries supplied. APA stands for "Always Pleasant Amenity", and their well-stocked bathrooms live up to the name. Each day of our stay, we were provided with 2 packaged brushes, 2 toothbrushes each with their own tiny tube of toothpaste, 2 double-blade disposable razors, as well as cotton swabs and small packets of lotions. But my favorite was the shower supplies! Rather than providing the travel-sized samples of shampoo and conditioner (that is barely enough for my massive amount of hair), the APA Horikawadori offers full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body soap from the internationally-respected cosmetics brand Shiseido. Hooray!
On the 11th floor, there is a spa for guests for a very nominal fee. Unfortunately, I sport a varied collection of tattoos, so I was unable to enjoy the spa facilities, and my companion was too big to fit into the "yukata" (bathrobes) provided, but we decided to take a gander anyways. A traditional "onsen" (public hot bath); the other guests relaxing were of course, skinny dipping. The locker rooms are separated for men and women, providing lockers for your towels and other toiletries you might need after a round of unwinding. There are also massage chairs within the locker rooms to use if the onsens don't rid you of all your tension! Bashful people beware: the spa is a plethora of nudity, and traffic to and from picks up during the evening hours - so don't be surprised if you see many guests wandering the hotel/elevators in just their bathrobes and slippers! But, they don't mind if you don't. Heck - I even paid a visit to a smoking floor for a quick nicotine fix after a shower in just my yukata - and I couldn't have fit in better.
The APA Horikawadori is a nice "budget" hotel at a great location if you don't mind cramped quarters. If you don't require a lot of space to spread out and plan to only use the room as a place to crash after a long day of exploring Kyoto, you may find this hotel acceptable. If you are wanting the typical American-sized hotel room with the same convenient location, you may want to try a different hotel. The APA offers a spa, sauna, 4 or 5 Japanese TV channels, a movie channel (access is via purchase of a "room theater" card for 1000 yen, or roughly $10 US), and a nice tofu restaurant. The hotel is very English-friendly. It is a 5 - 10 minute walk from Kyoto Station, and a 5 minute walk from a 7-Eleven convenience store for a late night snack trip or minor things you may have forgotten. Also provided on the 1st floor are internet kiosks (100 yen for 10 minutes), a microwave, and vending machines that even offer beer.
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